New Brunswick still digging out from blizzard

Some New Brunswickers are still digging out from blizzard that shut down much of the province on Wednesday.

Many schools closed for second straight day after storm blasts province with snow, high winds

Some New Brunswickers are still digging out from a blizzard that shut down much of the province on Wednesday.

The storm dumped more than 40 centimetres of snow in some regions, leaving those shovelling out trying to figure out where to put it all.

And high winds created drifts that left many roads impassable, even by the morning commute.

Lydia Robichaud was one of the many motorists who went off the road in the Moncton area.

"We were on our way to work, but I guess we're going to just go home," she said.

Christian Laplante ended up spending the night in his truck after hitting a ditch in Moncton at about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

He waited almost 18 hours for help to arrive.

"My truck was still running so whatever, I got a heating system in there, I got food, everything, phone, so everything was alright, that's no problem, nobody was hurt," he said.

It took two trucks about an hour to pull his truck out of the snow.

Tow truck operators like Marc Gautreau were running flat out all day. "And it's going to go on tonight," he said.

Gautreau, who only got a couple of hours of sleep, said he hasn't seen such a storm in a long time.

Power knocked out, cars abandoned

About 100 NB Power customers were still without power by late Thursday night, down from the estimated 3,000 who started their day without any heat or lights.

The outages peaked at about 5,000 customers on Wednesday, affecting primarily Rothesay, Shediac, St. Stephen, SackvilleMoncton and Sussex, with scattered smaller outages elsewhere.

Schools were closed in much of the province for a second straight day.

Only schools in the Fredericton area, the Upper Saint John River Valley and the northwest of the province opened Thursday.

The storm also affected transportation in the region.

From late Wednesday afternoon until about 7 a.m. Thursday morning, the three Maritime provinces were disconnected from one another.

The Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island was closed, the Trans-Canada Highway between Moncton and Truro was closed and Bay Ferries had cancelled its runs between Saint John and Digby, N.S.

"I don't have the greatest memory, but it's the first time that I can remember all three provinces are cut off from each other," said CBC meteorologist Peter Coade. "That's the first time I can remember anything like that."

Travel disrupted

The Trans-Canada connecting Nova Scotia and New Brunswick reopened at about 7 a.m. Thursday.The Confederation Bridge reopened to all but high-sided vehicles briefly, before closing once again until the weather situation changes, stated New Brunswick's Emegency Measures Organization.

The Digby ferry remained docked again on Thursday.

Storm surge warnings were issued along the Northumberland Strait on Wednesday. No warnings remain in place for New Brunswick on Thursday, but EMO officials cautioned there is still potential for dangerous surf and coastal erosion and advised people to avoid such areas.

Codiac Transpo in Moncton was delayed getting its buses on the streets Thursday as runs didn't begin until 8 a.m.

Moncton was socked with 41 centimetres of snow with winds that peaked at 80 km-h, according to Environment Canada readings.

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Coade said the storm was a strong nor'easter, with some hurricane-like qualities.

"If we judge a hurricane by its atmospheric pressure, it had the atmospheric pressure of a Category 3 hurricane," said Coade. "This wasn't a hurricane, but it had some of the components of a hurricane."

The Saint John Airport registered only eight centimetres of snow but saw peak wind speeds of 91 km-h.

Sgt. Dave Cowan of the Saint John Police Force said about 30 people abandoned their cars on city streets at the height of the storm.

"We had 25-30 vehicles through the city that people just walked away from, in middle of the road kind of thing," said Cowan. "So a lot of them stayed there most of the night because the tow trucks were taken off the road."

When city crews started to clear the streets around 3 a.m., vehicles abandoned on the streets were towed if owners couldn't be reached, said Cowan.

"If they go looking for their vehicle and it's not there it's probably at a lot in the city," said Cowan.

Ten centimetres of snow was recorded in Gagetown with peak winds of 76 km-h while Bathurst Airport registered six centimetres and winds of 61 km-h.

Unofficial readings from unstaffed sites saw a peak wind speed of 100 km-h recorded on Miscou Island off the tip of the Acadian Peninsula.

Coade said while the centre of Wednesday's storm is moving across Newfoundland and Labrador, because of its intensity the Maritimes will continue to feel its winds through Thursday before diminishing Thursday night.

Charlottetown received 50 centimetres of snow.


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